Write a 7 page essay on Desdemona as a Moral Heroine.
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Shakespeare’s Othello was first performed in the year 1604. It is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. The play deals with issues that have been written about since time immemorial. It depicts, as the saying goes, the fall of the mighty. The death of Othello, the Moor of Venice, is perhaps one of the Bard’s most poignant stories. .
The play is a tale of treachery, revenge, greed and over-reaching ambition. It depicts Iago’s machinations as he brings about Othello’s fall. In this play, not only did Shakespeare succeed in creating one of his most famous tragic heroes, but he also created one of his most charismatic and self-sacrificing heroines. Desdemona is perhaps one of the most misunderstood Shakespearean heroines. This is her story as much as it is Othello’s. .
In Othello, Shakespeare created a society that is quintessentially patriarchal. Women have almost no voice and all their decisions are made for them, either by their fathers and brothers or their husbands. It is in such a situation that Shakespeare places his willful heroine, Desdemona. .
It must be understood that Desdemona is vital to the unfolding of events within the play. She is the glue that holds the five acts together. She is the key to Iago’s success. In fact, it is her marriage to Othello that allows Iago to proceed with his plans. Very early in the play, Iago perceives the need to make Desdemona a very important pawn in his political games. .
Desdemona’s character is not expendable. The entire play depends on her presence. She is not discarded by the playwright as in the case of Ophelia in Hamlet. Desdemona’s eventual death in Act V is a classic example of the way women are treated in patriarchal societies. Women must either submit to higher authority or suffer a fate similar to Desdemona’s. .
Desdemona is one of Shakespeare’s most self-sufficient and strong-minded heroines. In the very first act, we find her making a choice. She chooses to marry Othello, a highly respected general in Venice. It is a decision made out of free will. A decision that eventually inspires Iago to sow the seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind.